Religion and spirituality are complex constructs that have the capacity to influence patients’ illnesses, courses of treatment, and experiences. Medical
social workers may feel unsure of how to address patients’ religious beliefs. Despite knowledge about the benefits of medications and treatment in
illness management, social workers may hear patient comments such as, “I don’t need medicine. God is going to heal me.” In situations of conflicting
ideas, it is important for medical social workers to consider the standards and tenets that govern the profession. Medical social workers must listen,
not judge, and promote a patient’s self-determination. In addition, they must accept that they may not be able to address a patient’s religious or
spiritual needs and call upon colleagues such as pastors, priests, imams, and rabbis who are more qualified in these areas.
To prepare for this Discussion, review this week’s resources. Focus on the religious and spiritual standards set by the National Association of Social
Workers. Then, consider your own religious and spiritual bias and worldviews. Think how these might influence your effectiveness as a medical social
By Day 3
Post an explanation of the impact religion or spirituality can have on patients’ perceptions of health and health outcomes. Then, explain how religion
and spirituality might influence patients’ experiences of illness, healing, resilience, and death. Explain the potential impact of your personal views
about religion or spirituality on providing services to a patient. Finally, explain ways you might improve your understanding of your patients’ views
about religion and spirituality. Justify your response by citing scholarly resources. Be specific and use examples to illustrate your points.
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